SOUTH AFRICA: Another Twelve Days With KUBUSI Safaris

Ridge Runner

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Mar 23, 2017
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East Cape, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Now that I have been able to spend a couple of weeks getting caught up on other things. I can start this delayed hunting report.

This was my third hunting trip with James Williamson owner of KUBUSI Safaris, Grahamstown, South Africa.

To give some perspective and reminisce a bit.

My first trip was in 2017; 9 days, 7 hunting days (actually 6 hunting days), 7 animals.

The second trip was in 2018; 12 days, 10 hunting days, 6 animals.

This trip was also for 12 days, 10 hunting days, 3 planned animals, a list of 5 added animals, and the opportunity to shoot animals for lodge meat. Actually it turned out to be 9 hunting days and 1 day of "deep sea" fishing (we fished about a kilometer +/- away from the beach in a dingy).

James operates a top notch lodge catering to hunters and non hunters. The PH's and their respective trackers, Danwyn and his taxidermy crew and lodge staff are all top notch people who try their best to insure clients and their families have an enjoyable stay. There is just to many good things to say, and too big of list of things you can do while staying at KUBUSI Safaris. The only negative I have about KUBUSI Safaris is when it is the last night and I have to pack for home.

For full information on KUBUSI Safaris contact Ed Rymut at You can also check out KUBUSI Safaris and James Williamson on Facebook.

Now let's start with Day 1 Arrival Day.

Arrived at Port Elizabeth airport, retrieved my luggage, processed through SAPS, and met up with my PH Piet, whom I hunted with in 2018, for the +/- 90 minute drive to Tuskers Lodge near Grahamstown.

We arrived at the lodge early enough for me to put away my gear and check my rifle at the "new" (to me) shooting range: 50m, 100m, 200m, just across the driveway.

After checking my rifle, Piet's long time tracker and friend Lloyd showed up and the 3 of us made a bit of a quick scout around the lodge property before dinner and to discuss the upcoming hunts. Around 9-9:30p Piet and I called it a night.

Day 2 / Hunting Day 1:

Piet and I met up for toast and coffee around 0600, loaded up my gear into the bakki, Lloyd was waiting for us as he had already prepped the bakki for the day.

It was a "relatively" short drive to the concession where we would start by scouting out a cape eland and maybe a gemsbuck. We spotted several nice impala and steenbok rams, ostriches and other PG before we met up with the 2 farm reps. After a few minutes of greetings and discussion on where the eland might be we all loaded into the bakki and headed out primarily for eland;
That quickly changed when we unexpectedly came upon a small herd of about 12-15 gemsbuck.

I don't know who was surprised most the gemsbuck or us.

We had been seeing a few gemsbuck here and there, 1 herd of about 20+, several hundred meters off. However, this particular group started out at +/-100 yards, leaving the flats heading up the hillside.

This herd had a long unihorn in the group, a couple of "ok"/ not what we are after bulls and a definitely worth considering cow with massive body and long horn.

Ok, we scouted this herd of gemsbuck. It's only H day 1. Back to scouting/hunting eland.

The first eland we encountered were moving up the hillside, mostly cows and a couple of young bulls, then we spotted 2 small groups of 5 and 6 respectively; more cows. As we were glassing the small groups of cows for a bull we started seeing more eland lurking/feeding/moving about in and around the brush, then 3 nice bulls came into an opening. After nearly an hour and not being able to get much if any closer than when we started.

Arriving back to the bakki a few scattered gemsbuck were spotted heading up the hillside. It didn't take long before for us to realize we had already glassed these animals. Yep, there is the unihorn.

Back to the bakki and in search of eland.


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Hunting Day 1: continued

We spotted and glassed several more eland and our stalks to better assess the animals were unsuccessful; too many eyes and ears, and the wind was in their favor. Around noon we decided to leave the area, have lunch where we picked up the farm reps and let the area/eland calm down in hopes we could have a better chance to look them over later in the afternoon.

After lunch we started out to scout and glass gemsbuck. And Yep! The first small herd; the unihorn (we thought/hoped would be a good bull) finally stepped out of hiding from behind a cluster of brush.

On the other hand that big cow, is looking better; nice body mass and long horn. It's only the afternoon of hunting day 1; I have 9 more days.

We continue on looking for more gemsbuck. It started to look like was going to have to decide on body mass or exceptional horn length.

Around 3-3:30p we stopped the search for a gemsbuck and started our hunt for eland. Tap, tap, tap on the roof of the bakki. Below us are 3, 4, 5, gemsbuck moving about the brush. We stop, dismount the bakki and start glassing.

Now coming back down the hillside are the eland. Gemsbuck or eland....Eland or gemsbuck......And Yep! No brainer.....there it is The Unihorn!....on to the eland.

We spotted 3 bulls, but only 1 had both body mass and reasonably size horn. There are more eland scattered throughout the brush, we / they won't let us get a good look at them.

While looking for eland and gemsbuck, warthog is also on my list. We have spotted a few but none we good glass long enough to evaluate, other than a no shooter size sow with 1 piglet.

We returned to the lodge about an hour or so before dark. Since baboon is also on the list, as a nuisance animal, having done significant damage to a couple of buildings normally used for staff housing.
We didn't see or hear the baboons that are frequently the area by nearly dark so we returned to the lodge to make plans for the next day's adventures and reminisce about the 2018 hunts have dinner around about 9p we called it a night.
Hunt Day 2:

The day started out with Piet and I meeting up around 5:45a for breakfast of toast and coffee, putting my gear in the bakki, Lloyd waiting for us to load into the bakki and head back to the concession we were at yesterday.

We arrived at the concession a little earlier than yesterday in hopes of getting on game early. And we did. We first spotted a few warthogs that didn't stick around long enough for a good look at. There were a few zebra wandering about and then we encountered a few gemsbuck and eland moving about together along the hillside we had seen them on the day before.

Piet and I had discussed the big bull eland and I decided this was the type of bull I wanted because he has the body mass and respectable horn which is what I like in an animal. He has a nice "thick" "mop", huge neck/ drew lap and grey/blue coloring.

It didn't take long for us to spot him and the hunt was on. After 3 times on and off the sticks we were finally able to ease our way to +/- 100 yards; one shot drop with a 300 grain, Barnes PP SN, 375 H&H, with a second security/safety follow up shot.

The 2 farm reps and Lloyd (Piet's tracker) spent the rest of the morning skinning and gutting the big beast. After the skinning and gutting the carcass was cut in half, separating the ribs/front quarters and the hind quarters. To be honest, we looked like the 4 stooges trying to get man handle the 2 halves through a narrow, like 30 inch narrow doorways and hang them in the relatively small walk in meat cooler.

After the clean up Piet, Lloyd and headed back to the by way of Grahamstown to pick up some oranges to bait the baboons and to make a quick visit with another of James' PHs, Charl, who has opened a small market with his wife, Charne.

Lloyd and I finished out the day by sitting in a make shift hide/blind waiting for the baboon to show up. Later Piet and closed the day discussing plans for hunting day 3 and dinner.
Great write up!! Keep it coming!!!
Hunting Day 3:

Piet and met up for breakfast around 0630hrs, loaded up my gear, Lloyd was waiting for us, and as usual had the bakki ready.

The idea was to ease up the driveway looking for baboons and to check our orange bait. The baboons had devoured the oranges.

We continued back to the same concession for gemsbuck, (one many things we joked about) I think Piet and Lloyd were double teaming me to shoot a steenbok, as we were constantly seeing them cutting across the road, standing watching us pass by them along side the road, or observing us from open fields and along thin patches of brush, or just out in the open feeding and or chasing one another.

Having met up with our 2 farm reps once again we started out in search for a gemsbuck and/or a warthog.

Once again the few warthogs we seen kicked it to high gear away from us, not letting us get a good look at them. The zebra maintained an alertness but continued feeding as we passed by them, except those closer to the road, as the bakki approached them the too kicked it into high gear away from US, but not before Piet could identify at least 2 nice stallions.

I have to say this sitting on the other/wrong passenger side does have it's advantages. As we passed by a dry waterhole I spotted a critter laying in the sandy area next to some weeds. It required us to stop and glass, at first it looked like a cat bedded down, it took a bit of studying the outline and then a bit of a breeze to move the shin high grass to reveal the animal was a bedded steenbok. We continued on our search for gemsbuck.

As we rounded a curve in the dirt farm road we spotted several eland ahead of us, they quickly decided to move out further away taking some nearby zebra and gemsbuck with them. Then I noticed a single large bull; holy crap, I should have shot this eland, no that isn't an eland, get the bino's up it's a mature bull letchwe.

The hunt is on; well, it did take me 2 or 3 minutes to decide. It was a relatively quick +/- 300 yard stalk. We made our way past the letchwe to some thin, short thorny brush and set up the sticks. The letchwe had paid us little to no attention as it slowly moved about, drifting away from our hasty set up. We moved up parallel to the letchwe. Now we, that is us and the letchwe, are in the open. Once again my rifle is set on the sticks. Instead of using my rangefinder, made a quick yardage guesstimation of 80 yards. I spined it, or the bullet hit bone and exited out of the spine, using a Hornady 300 grain DGX. The letchwe dropped dead.

We were in no hurry, since this is only day 3. We did the trophy photos, and admired the size of the letchwe then Lloyd and the farm reps loaded it into the bakki. We returned to the skinning shed where Lloyd was left to gut and skin the letchwe, while Piet, the 2 farm reps, and I went back on the hunt for a gemsbuck.

We passed by the dried waterhole and the bedded steenbok was still there; we passed by where we had just shot the letchwe; we started up the hillside; where did the gemsbuck go?; The eland are just ahead and above us on the hillside.

Tap, tap, tap on the cab of the bakki; the gemsbuck were below us in the brush. Not until we crossed to the other side of the draw could they be seen. The hunt is on. We dismounted the bakki and moved about 200 yards down the steep draw. There are at least 5 maybe 6, (turned out to be 10) gemsbuck about 450 + yards across the draw. Then 4 more were spotted about 200 yards on our side and below us.

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Lodge Day 3/ Hunt Day 2: continued

EDIT: Before I get further into this report I need to clarify/correct the days before I get questioned on how these days and hunts don't match up.

Lodge Day 1: arrival day, check scope and short late afternoon hunt at Tuskers Lodge.

Lodge Day 2/Hunt Day 1: is the eland

Lodge Day 3/Hunt Day 2: lechwe and gemsbuck

As we moved to glass the gemsbuck below us they begin moving into the brush heading for the flat ground. Then from seemingly nowhere gemsbuck appear on a "hump", in the open about 300 yards, they look and watch us. When we began our stalk toward them they followed their friends back down the draw and toward the flat. We are left to head back to the bakki and make a new plan.

We find the gemsbuck moving in and along the thick brush at the bottom of the draw and start the difficult job of glassing them. Then they break cover heading for cover on the other side of the open flat.

And Yep! We no longer need to glass this herd. The 4th from the's the unihorn herd.

Note: I don't know if anyone else on this forum has this quirk.

"If its not a shooter on the first day, it's not a shooter on the last day." If your willing to let an animal go by on opening day why shoot it on the last day as a last resort(?).

And Thus the decision......

That gemsbuck cow......Ok let's do it. The hunt is on.

We started out and the gemsbuck made sure we stayed no closer than +/- 300+ yards from them. The gemsbuck also kept bunched up rather than strung out as before. Over an hour later of chasing, stalking, on and off the sticks, the gemsbuck started stringing and the big cow gave me a clear broadside shot at 148 yards. One of the farm reps smiled and said good shot. The cow took off with the rest of the small herd, then seperated from the herd I made a second shot on her as she continued toward the dry river bed. As we got to the dry river bed the gemsbuck came up and out across in front of us. I finished off by putting a 250 grain, 44 caliber, Lehigh Extreme Penetrator bullet into it.

After the trophy photos and loading the gemsbuck into the bakki we headed to the skinning shed.

Arriving back at the skinning shed, Lloyd was finishing up the skinning and gutting of the letchwe. The 2 farm reps helped with getting the lechwe into the cooler and started on skinning and gutting the gemsbuck.

After the cleanup from the gemsbuck I tipped and thanked the 2 farm reps for the amount of time it took them and Lloyd working together to skin the large animals, especially the eland. The hides were loaded into the bakki and we headed back to the lodge by way of Grahamstown to try to meet of with Charl and Charne, pick up some gun cleaning equipment to clean my firearms, and purchase some more oranges to bait the baboons.

Back at the lodge we first stopped to put out the oranges and look for any recent sign of baboon activity.

After dropping off the lechwe and gemsbuck hides at the lodge skinning shed we took about a 20 minute break, then Lloyd and I resumed our hunt for baboon at our hide/blind.

Now the first evening we setup I kept hear something moving really close, like within a couple of yards, to me but I could not see any animal though the thick brush. James has bushpigs and wildebeest at Tuskers Lodge along with a variety of other PG. Needless to say I kept my 44 ready.

This late afternoon Lloyd took the lower end and i was on the upper end. I should also mention I like to carry a handgun for convenience as I often rest my rifle against a tree. Now I don't know what kind of birds these are but they sound like a duck and crow and these birds are more annoying than squirrels in the fall when you are deer hunting.

As it was almost dark Lloyd and I decided to walk back to the lodge. I don't know which one of us is right so I'm going with Lloyd; I claim bushpig because i didn't hear the "bark", Lloyd claims bushbuck because he thinks he heard it "bark". Regardless whichever it was it had came to within 4 or 5 feet of me, 6 or 7 feet from Lloyd and had chosen to flee than be aggressive, this could have gone all kinds of wrong.
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@Ridge Runner
So far following report, and it is great!
But, to make the forum community really happy, pleaseeee start attaching some photos! Pleaseeeee!!!!
@Ridge Runner
So far following report, and it is great!
But, to make the forum community really happy, pleaseeee start attaching some photos! Pleaseeeee!!!!
I am working on it.

I have the photos down loaded on the computer, however trying to pull them from a file to attach to my post is a different beast.

No problem with being able to upload other /older photos. It's just the ones I recently downloaded from my camera. I am also having a problem with downloading some photos on my phone to my computer.
I'm still trying to get my photos to load. Meantime I will continue my report.

We walked by to the lodge laughing and joking about the animal that had came so close to us and the days events.

The rest of the evening was routine:
Piet and I discussed the day, planned for the next day, had dinner, then called it a night.

Lodge day 4/ Hunting day 3- Fishing Day

Piet and I met up for breakfast around 0700hrs, and left for Port Alfred around 0800hrs to meet up with James around 0930hrs.

Once we met up with James it only took us a few minutes to get on the water and about 30 minutes later we were fishing just off the coast.

James caught the first fish;(now it may have been the same fish several times or it may have been different fish, but I would almost swear it was the same fish following us around. At least it became the fishing joke of the day.).

My first fish was a star fish, off the same reef, not long after James caught his fish.
After about an hour and lack of catching any fish we proceeded to find a different reef to fish.

At the second reef it didn't take long, by fishing standards, for us to each catch a Roman fish, James used his for shark bait and mine went into the live well. About 15-20 minutes later we each caught a bream and they went into the live well. The shark only toyed with the bait we had set out, thus we were unsuccessful at catching a shark.

About 1p we called it a day and headed back to the dock with 3 fish for the next evening's dinner.

Back at the lodge Lloyd and I returned to our hide/blind to try once again for baboon. Without success.

Note: For those like myself that dip (or those that use long leaf chew), we searched several tobacco shops around Port Alfred and Grahamstown for dip and/or long leaf chewing tobacco and were unsuccessful in finding any type chewing tobacco. I relented to substituting using Black and Mild cigars by removing the plastic tips and breaking them into thirds, placing the pieces between my cheek and gum like I would a dip.

Lodge day 5/ hunting day 4 and
Lodge day 6/ hunting day 5

Piet, Lloyd, and I started our hunting day around 0700hrs by checking on the oranges that had been placed out for baboon bait. The baboons had touched them. Lloyd repositioned the oranges and added same maze (corn) to the baited area.

Then we headed off in search of a warthog.

As we arrived at the concession we met up with the owner and a few minutes later with a farm rep we were off on looking for a warthog.

We hadn't traveled 300-400 yards when we spotted the first warthog trotting across an open area, as we started to glass I spotted 2 critters about 15 yards from our bakki...yellowtail Mongoose...hunt is on...Now I would have preferred to used the .243 caliber, but it was still in the case in the back seat of the bakki, thus it was going to be the .375 H&H with a solid, 300 grain Barnes TSX; (Thus the joke of adding mongoose to the DG list).

The idea was 1 shot 2 kill. Unfortunately 1 shot 1 kill. I, we, had pretty much wrote off seeing, let alone getting any shot on a mongoose. And I had just scored on a very elusive animal.

We spent the rest of the day looking for a good warthog, but we saw were "juveniles", non shooter boars and sows with piglets/young.

We hunted this same concession the next day. Piet decided this was not the concession to hunt for a warthog. We saw a massive amount of bonte buck, with several great rams, and some nice impala rams.

Late afternoons of each these days were spent unsuccessfully hunting baboon around Tuskers lodge.

In the meantime James had called Piet, requesting we also hunt a: blue wildebeest, warthog, and kudu for lodge meat.

Thus from here on out late afternoons and/or early evenings (night hunting) were spent looking for camp meat.
Lodge day 7/ Hunting day 6

Piet, Lloyd, and I meet up and head to a concession near Port Alfred for warthog.

Once again we meet up with the owner/operator; pick up a farm rep; head out in search of a good warthog; And it didn't take long to spot a nice warthog. Unfortunately I shot over it, because I over guesstimated the range.

As we continue on we see a variety of PG and a few more warthogs. As we continue to transgress the area we eventually return to an area we had previously seen 3 warthog. There we find a very old warthog that needs to be removed. A quick stalk is mad, sticks are set up twice. This isn't the best warthog we have seen, but he is old and the lower long sharpened to needle point teeth will make a good trophy for me. One shot from the 375 and the 'hog drops to the ground. This warthog lacks the body mass I like and the top "tusk" are not very impressive, however I find the lower "tusk" most impressive, because of their length and sharpness, to near a needle point. This will make a very good open mouth mount.

After the trophy photo opt and our return to the farm's skinning shed a few more photos are taken and then I start up a conversation with the owner/operator.

We return to Tuskers Lodge and continue our routine of hunting baboon and Lodge meat. Lloyd and I walk up the driveway and cut back down the roadway we have travel over the last 2 afternoons. I hear an animal extremely close to us, Lloyd sports a very nice trophy quality unidentifiable animal crosses the roadway....what do we do (?) [rhetorical question]....the sticks are up and the hog comes out...aaahhh...ugghhh......WTF, WTH, SOB... I didn't check....that is normally I lock and load/chamber a round once I exit the this case we were walking into the area near the lodge and I didn't want to chamber a round until we were away from the lodge for safety reasons. (Note) And no matter how many times I flipped my safety on and off nor how hard I pulled on my trigger; when you dont have a cartridge chambered, the rifle will never go boom.

Thus, the warthog was safely on it's way.

The animal mere feet from us, yet unseen, in the thick bush from US continued to snort, but would not show itself. We finally gave up on this animal and preceded on down the road bed.

Lloyd heard something in the thick brush off to our right. It didn't take but a few seconds before Lloyd decided we needed to further investigate. Was it the warthog(?); Was it the unidentifiable animal, I alone saw(?)......we eased our way into the brush, our heads swiveling..... And then it appeared.....only minutes old, still on wobbly legs, a new born Nyala calf. The calf wasn't more than 30 feet from US as we quietly watched it move about seemingly looking for its mother.

After several minutes of watching this new born Nyala calf and taking several photos of it Lloyd and I quietly backed out of the thick brush and back onto the road bed.

Due to the lateness we decided to head back to the lodge and meet up with Piet for the night hunt.

The 3 of us headed out for a late afternoon/ early evening hunt that led into a night hunt.

The first....and finally....I was able to cross off warthog as camp meat...borderline trophy class animal. As we proceeded on in search for other animals for lodge meat...long story short...I missed an opportunity for an aardvark.

Next Lodge day 8/ Hunting day 7
Now that I have found my hunting report and where I left off I will try to finish it.

In the meantime here are some photos of some of the animals from South Africa:

The bush photo at the bottom is the new born Nyala. You'll need to enlarge the photo and look to the left side of the center bush.


Here are the pics of the second Cape Buff Bull and the Hippo cow taken in Zimbabwa.
Live the pictures, thanks for posting-excited for more hunting details!

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